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Flying tire kills fan at NHRA race

  • Car flipped in first-round race of NHRA Arizona Nationals and caught fire
  • Wheel flew off car and struck woman in the stands
  • She was airlifted to a local hospital, where she died

(CNN) -- A spectator died Sunday after she was struck by a tire from a crashing dragster during the NHRA Arizona Nationals near Phoenix, Arizona.

The car flipped in the first-round race and caught fire, said Alia Maisonet, spokeswoman for the Gila River Indian reservation in Chandler, Arizona, where the racetrack is located.

During the accident, a wheel flew off the car and struck the woman in the stands, she said.

Coverage from CNN affiliate KPHO

She was airlifted to a local hospital, where she died.

The dragster was driven by Top Fuel driver Antron Brown. He went to a hospital as a precaution, but was released, the National Hot Rod Association said.

"The entire NHRA community is deeply saddened by today's incident and sends its thoughts and prayers to the woman's family and friends," the group said on its Web site.

The accident is under investigation.